There wasn’t a dry eye in the house following Sparwood Secondary School’s rendition of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, titled Wasted.
The 33 cast members lined the staged and took a bow, and those who played lead roles were introduced by drama teacher, Noel Bullock. The teacher was overwhelmed as dance captain Austin White explained how the program had helped him not only grow as an actor, but also as a person.
For some actors, the past year was spent preparing and practicing for this long performance, which signified the end of the season for theatre performers.
“Apart from the relief, there’s a sense of accomplishment,” said Bullock.
“It was a hard script to present; it is a tragedy and to make a tragedy engaging for the audience was a challenge, and I think the students rose to that occasion.”
The leading roles were taken on by several senior drama students. The core of the cast worked over the summer with Bullock to prepare for the performance.
Michael Marks took on the role of Caesar, Sydney Nelson played the part of Cassy, Linden Hay took on the role of Brutus, Erik Fehr played Antony, Ava Anderson as Cally, Zoe Kuystermans as Portia, Dominic Thomas as Soothsayer, Cass Klapp as Octavia, Neveah Kerkhoven as Lucy and Ethan Bruce as Casca.
The final result on Wednesday night was flawless; Bullock said if there was a mistake, he didn’t notice.
The show was a modern take on the classic play, incorporating many elements, such as texting, frat houses, college parties train stations and movie references. Of course, some things never change, such as the jealousy, deception, violence, regret and grief, which remain true even today.
They were inspired by the Intermission Youth Theatre in London, UK, who took on a similar project involving the classic film.
“The guy who worked in inner-city London took street kids and didn’t tell them he was training them to be in a play, and he said ‘look, I want you guys to act as though you were trying to convince someone to kill somebody’,” said Bullock.
In conversations with them, Bullock took elements from their production, made it relevant for rural B.C. communities and implemented that into their play. The two productions share the name, Wasted.
“The title of Wasted, the suggestion that there was a death that needed to be accounted for, that was from them. They were very generous with us,” said Bullock.
“The themes are relevant,” he continued. “Half truths, outright lies, manipulation of a population, persuading people to believe certain things. This is the stuff of social media, this is memes. And that’s why we drew it in that way.”
Bullock said he hoped the audience left the play knowing that truth matters. He looks forward to working with the school on their next big performance.